The Rottsville Inn is a system-neutral haunted Inn/Tavern setting built to be dropped into your campaign at a moment’s notice, complete with spooky characters, backstories, your choice of adventure tangents, and tavern menu!
Each additional step seems to drain you of energy, the air becoming thicker with mildew, your eyelids… heavier. Your mind becomes clouded with desire for a soft bed, a warm fire, a comforting beverage, and a hot meal. These thoughts alone threaten to drop you into a deep slumber, and just as you feel you can travel no more you spot something, a warm, inviting light through the long tangle of lifeless trees ahead. Fighting your way through the barricade of increasingly twisted branches, you break your way into a clearing. In front of you stands a large manor-like building, with the natural decay of time and lack of upkeep leading you to believe it is uninhabited, if not for the gas-lit lantern hanging invitingly off the doorway. A slanted wooden plaque is nailed by one corner to the left of the door, the only letters still legible read “… Rott…… Inn”, it is immediately clear this was once a functioning Inn… is STILL a functioning Inn? But why here? In the middle of nowhere with no other signs of local settlement, abandoned or otherwise. Your confusion gives way to the previous desire, a hot meal and a place to rest, and here in front of you a place that may well fulfill it.
The decrepit nature of this crumbling building offers the opportunity for some fun player dice rolls, with plenty of hazards around such as loose floorboards, falling debris etc. You may even roll some dice yourself to see if the building manages to hold itself together at opportune moments!
The Rottsville Inn
The Rottsville Inn is lacking credible history when it comes to its origins. This is due to the fact that there are so many myths and folktales about “that building deep in the woods”, and you would have a difficult time discerning fact from fiction. However, there are some consistencies between a few of the legends that crop up too often to be simply a coincidence. Firstly, all who stumbled upon the house and sought to return were never able to find it again. Secondly, no one who told tales of the house had ever been inside, leaving the locals convinced everyone who did enter, never again stepped back outside. Some of the other myths are more like rumors and entertain the idea of the paranormal in a far less subtle fashion. Some say it was an old hotel that burned to the ground with guests and staff still inside, and what is being seen is just an echo of the suffering. Others say a necromancer lives there, using powerful magic to hide the building from sight, only being revealed when the dark wizard requires more cadavers to play with. Despite these dark rumors, no one who is questioned about it ever actually knew any of the supposed victims personally. Anyone who tried trailing the stories back to their source would just follow an endless chain of “No it didn’t happen to MY friend, but I heard it from…” and so on. So ultimately The Rottsville Inn remains truly shrouded in mystery, and it’s likely it will stay that way until someone who ventures inside, manages to return…
Innkeeper, Boneless Sack of Skin and Flesh
Age unknown, gender unknown, eye color: gaping holes, not a single bone in their body
As you enter the main “lobby” of the Inn something slowly emerges from the shadows. Emitting great long groans of effort, a loose pile of skin drags itself into the light. The strange sight gives off no sense of danger but the weird slaps of flesh-on-floor are deeply unsettling. As the creature comes to a stop before you, with great exertion it raises its face off the floor, gaping holes where the eyes should be and a wide toothless mouth. For a moment it appears to be about to speak, but instead erupts into a pitiful, drawn-out scream. The gaping eyeholes seem to stare pleadingly at each party member in turn. The horrifying gurgled screams continue for an excruciating 10-15 seconds, then stop abruptly. The creature appears to be looking at you, patiently awaiting a reply.
Stanley has lost virtually all ability to perform their Innkeeper duties in any capacity, yet technically they own the building and therefore have authority over its occupants. If the party interprets Stanley’s agonizing screams as a request for help and insists on figuring out how, Stanley will most likely crawl over to the closest pile of vermin bones and nudge at it. Stanley would like their bones back, even though it’s unlikely to result in a vertically functioning body once again.
- Being a human puddle
Something that spilled long ago, green, sticky, kind of a bummer
Upon entering the bar room you notice a weird wet squelching mixed with the sound of a weak, pathetic moaning, the noise seems to be originating from behind the bar. Clearly alerted by your approach, there are now two upset beady black eyes peering at you from the edge of the bar, the eyes floating in what appears to be a sickly green puddle. A pitiful-looking green goo squirms its way onto the top of the bar. Looking both reluctant and impatient it whimpers, “What do you want?”.
Not much is known about the oozey bartender, even he’ll tell you he just kind of came to consciousness one day, and has regretted it ever since. Yet despite Jerry’s unrivaled mastery at killing the mood, he makes a half-decent bartender and his true skill lies in his knowledge of all liquids bottled, aged, fermented, and so on. If the party attempts to utilize his bartending services, they’ll very quickly learn that despite his expertise in all things beverage-able, he has no concept of inflation or the idea that aged wine & spirits often gain in value over time. As a result of this gap in his knowledge, Jerry is willing to fork over some incredibly valuable bottles for the original market price.
You can balance the party taking advantage of this resale goldmine by having only a few bottles of the good stuff left. Alternatively, you can have Jerry refuse to sell by the bottle, forcing the party to sacrifice the resale value for the chance to try these once-in-a-lifetime spirits & wines for themselves.
- Being left alone
- Being by himself
- Not being around people
- Being social
- Being around people
Cookie & The Sous
Chefs, Large/Small, Undeads
Rotund jelly-like physique, stumpy soft extremities, glowing yellow eyes. 9ft. 10″, clumsy movement, sous-chef living in belly
As you take your first steps past the rear of the bar, the right-side hallway door seems to be emitting a grumbling deep melodic hum. You also hear what appear to be clumsy scrapes, thumps, and bangs. As you near the door it becomes clear something beyond this door is humming a song… something big. As you first open the door you’re immediately overwhelmed by a literal gust of sulfur-like stench. Several cooking pots sit by the lit wood-fired stove, mysterious viscous liquids bubbling away, emanating a faint green mist as each tar-like bubble bursts. Standing half-turned away from you, chopping away at something shriveled and green, stands what at first appears to be a giant leather sack. The leathery skin of the sack wriggles and writhes as though filled with large maggots. Once your eyes adjust to the absurd scenario before you, you realize the sack is… a creature. It’s at this point that the large creature spots you in its periphery and the humming stops, it turns clumsily, a large slack mouth hanging agape as it wipes the knife on its filthy apron. A sharp high-pitched voice that doesn’t at all match the appearance of this creature yells “Ey! What are ya doin’ in ‘ere?!”, and you quickly realize the voice belongs not to the large creature, but a smaller, shriveled, almost man-like creature protruding from a hole in its belly.
“Cookie” is the larger of the two and is unable to communicate in sentences, however, it understands instructions and will often repeat simple words such as “Chop chop”, “Stir stir”, and “Cooky cooky”. Cookie also possesses a decent talent when it comes to humming in tune.
“The Sous” is the smaller, belly-dwelling creature and can easily communicate in the common tongue, though his sharp, angry tone and crude choice of language will make you resent this fact. The Sous appears to be permanently aggravated and impatient, constantly barking orders at Cookie and any potential visitors to his kitchen.
- Chop chop
- Yum yum (Eating)
- Being confused by complicated language or concepts
- Whatever The Sous tells him to dislike
The Sous’ Likes
- Bossing people around
- Being in charge
The Sous’ Dislikes
- People not following orders
- Being told what to do
- Everyone (Except for Cookie, though he’ll never admit it)
Translucent, silvery blue complexion, young woman, 5′ 3″, fragile appearance
As you pass the musty moth-eaten curtains into the parlor there is mostly silence, which makes the soft sound of crying to your right even more confronting. What looks like a girl, or a young woman, translucent and blue in color, sitting on one of the parlor chairs and crying into her lap with her hands over her face.
The party may be sensible enough to leave her be, however, if they do enter what could be considered her “personal space” and attempt to comfort her, this is what will happen.
The crying stops abruptly, there is a moment of silence, but before you can speak again the spirit’s head snaps upwards impossibly fast, her eyes filled with a rage and hatred you’ve seldom seen before. Her hair floats around her as though suspended in water as she glides 3 feet upwards into the air. For a moment it looks like she’s sucking all the air out of the room, before emitting an ear-splitting, window-shattering scream that seems to shake the room itself. Books start falling from the bookcase, the piano begins playing an aggressive melody seemingly by itself, and while you think the situation couldn’t possibly get any worse, various objects begin to float up off the ground and fly straight at you.
I leave the actual mechanics of this encounter up to you as it depends heavily on your personal choice of TTRPG system, but you can also have it simply be a roleplay scenario where no damage is being done and the party has to appease her some other way. Also, it could be fun to merge the stat blocks of a banshee and a poltergeist together for a unique monster encounter.
- Being left alone
- People trying to comfort her
Thrykus the Outcast
Ancient, bald leathery toad-like head, beady shrewd yellow eyes, 4ft. 8″, looks to have lost a lot of weight in a short space of time
As you ascend the ladder the air itself seemingly changes around you, as though passing through a curtain into a different environment entirely. Peering into the attic you first notice a complete lack of decay, everything here is immaculately maintained, if a bit outdated. Once you’re able to scan the entire room your eyes catch on two things in particular: firstly, a large circular symbol on the ground glows a bright red, as though burning itself into the floorboards. Secondly, what looks like a large overdressed toad leaning on a cane, eyes peering over the top of a book with the impatient look of someone who has just had an important train of thought interrupted. The toad-like creature raises an eyebrow at you, as though demanding you explain this intrusion of privacy.
He has a clever, arrogant voice and a permanent look of smug superiority etched on his face. He gives off the impression that he is always scheming, always looking for a way to improve his station, and cruelly indifferent to whom he destroys along the way.
Thrykus was outcast from his layer of hell for the attempted treachery of a fellow Amnizu holding a higher station. Thrykus himself was betrayed by his fellow conspirators, who were all rewarded greatly for their “loyalty”. Cast out of hell and stripped of certain powers, he is now confined to this realm, a shriveled remnant of the great taskmaster he once was. Traveling aimlessly through an unfamiliar realm, Thrykus eventually found his way here, a building that already housed great misery and sadness. It is here that Thrykus stayed, feeding off the misery of the cursed occupants confined to the Rottsville Inn, one day hoping to regain enough power to re-enter the hells and finally bring vengeance to his betrayers.
If the party agrees to hear Thrykus out, he will offer great power as payment for a signed contract promising him their soul upon death. As with most if not all deals with devils, he will not play fair. If the contract is signed, upon descending the ladder Thrykus will cause all residents of the Inn to converge on the party, forcing the contract to be fulfilled that much sooner.
Thrykus knows the party can overpower his weakened form if it comes to that, so he will do everything in his power to trick, bribe, or convince them to leave him be. If all else fails and the party decides to kill him in order to give the Inn’s cursed occupants some peace, he will offer them one last deal, a great reward (Of your choosing) in return for allowing him to leave the Inn and find another place to settle in this plane. It should be clear to the party that this option is a greedy and immoral one, as Thrykus will simply just find other cursed souls to torture.
If the party does decide to enter combat with Amnizu, he won’t be very challenging on his own, and Amnizu rarely fight their own battles to begin with. It’s likely he will use what’s left of his power to summon one or more of the cursed occupants to his side to fight for him. Upon his death, any soul he summoned will gain free will and stop attacking the party. Feel free to treat the attic specifically as a lair with special actions for the purposes of combat.
- The groveling of inferior beings
- Being treated as high nobility
- Anyone he can use for his own ends
- Anyone speaking to him as though an equal or superior
- Being questioned or doubted
- Stubborn do-gooders who are difficult to manipulate
- Being reminded of his drastic fall in status
Here are a few extra characters you can add to the Inn to give it a busier feel!
Mounted Wolf’s Head in the parlor
Animated Armor beside the ground-floor stairs
Mysterious Bodak residing quietly in the shadows of the bar room
Bartholomew the bone collecting hermit who wanders outside the Rottsville Inn
Appeasing The Cursed Occupants
You have the option to turn this Inn visit into more of a mini-quest/adventure in itself. By having the attic room locked by magic until all or most of the cursed spirits have been appeased, you encourage the players to figure out what each of the Inn’s occupants might be wanting, and then doing what they can to make them happy. Appeasing enough of the occupants will unlock the attic due to Thrykus’ annoyance at the party meddling with his source of souls, making the misery he feeds on less potent. It’s likely he will offer a more obvious invitation to them when the attic is accessible.
Stanley the Innkeeper. Stanley wants their bones back, ultimately anyone’s bones will do as long as they’re vaguely human-shaped. This tangent would be a good way to insert additional character “Bartholomew” the bone-collecting hermit, who likely won’t let you rifle through his collection for free. Upon retrieving the majority of Stanley’s bones for them, they will swallow them all up, and eventually to the party’s likely surprise, do a decent job of standing up. Given that there’s no cartilage, tendons etc. to lock and control the bones, it can be assumed that Stanley is manipulating the bones with muscle tension alone, a very impressive feat. The most noticeable change will be the skull now giving shape to Stanley’s head, and utilising it alongside their reunited jaw bone they slowly manage the words “Theeehnk… yeeee”, before doing a grotesque imitation of a casual walk back toward their closet. Perhaps they have a reward for the party stashed inside.
Jerry the Ooze. Jerry will offer no solution for easing his plight. Yet, as an enthusiast in all things liquid and beveraged… perhaps Jerry’s biggest desire, unbeknown to himself, is to be drunk as a cool refreshing beverage. It is possible Jerry hints at this possibility but never truly accepting it as a possible option, after all, surely he’s too pathetic to quench anyone’s thirst like a real refreshment can. Drinking Jerry is sure to result in some very unique circumstances later in the player’s adventure.
Cookie & The Sous. The Sous will never ask or allow the party to help with the cooking, however, perhaps there’s an elusive ingredient he has been trying to track down, or maybe Cookie needs a new/sharpened knife. I’m sure Cookie would love to try any unique food the party may have on them, to the annoyance of his impatient sous chef. But it’s unlikely the pair will have much to offer the party as a reward except a “fresh” cooked meal, which is actually more of a punishment…
Priscilla. Based on the initial interaction with the disgruntled banshee/poltergeist, it’s very possible the only thing that will appease the spirit is to vanquish it. This will temporarily diminish her power, and her pain, for a time. Alternatively, if you’d prefer a non-combat solution, Priscilla’s curse is that of lost love. If the party can somehow convince her that her love is returning to her, she will be appeased for the time it takes to realize they were lying.
The Rottsville Inn “Menu”
|Congealed Liquid||(mug) 2 cp (gallon) 8 cp||A wide green bottle filled 1/4 of the way up with a mysterious jellified substance, the label has been misplaced|
|Red Wine Vinegar||(cup) 4 cp (pitcher) 2 sp||What used to be a low-quality commoners red wine, now over-fermented into what is actually a high quality vinegar|
|Friar’s Estate Cognac (200 Year)||(cup) 5 gp (bottle) 25 gp||Immaculately preserved and unopened, this previously-thought-extinct batch holds incredible value to the right buyer. Almost priceless.|
|Thompson Vista Fine Wine||(cup) 2 gp (bottle) 10 gp||A pricey red wine back in the day, if stored properly and unopened this batch is worth much more today.|
|Stale Water||(tankard) free||This less-than-clear water tastes distinctly metallic, but otherwise seems safe enough for the short term|
|Moldy lump (plain)||1 cp||A small once-loaf suitable for 1 person|
|Moldy lump (buttered)||2 cp||A small once-loaf suitable for 1 person, served with surprisingly well-preserved butter|
|Moldy lump (with moldy cheese shrivel)||8 cp||A small once-loaf suitable for 1 person, served with something that looks and smells like it was once cheese. Some would call this a delicacy|
|Bone Marrow Vegetable Soup (bowl)||4 cp||A surprisingly edible dish, though the source of the bonemarrow is questionable, the dehydrated vegetables are resurrected by the soup|
|Cookie’s Rat Pie||3 sp||Likely the best source of protein on the menu, it’s unsure how long these rats were dead before they were cooked and the pie crust tastes curiously of sawdust|
|Stale Biscuits (3)||1 cp||Better utilized to reinforce the building’s structure at this point, no refund issued upon braking of teeth|
I’m sure that you can find a use for this haunted Inn in your game, we hope you’ll share your story in the comments below. 🙂
You can use the button above to download The Rottsville Inn map, and I have listed many of the map asset packs used below. You can also find many more on our Map Gallery.
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